Unpopular opinion: Endless Swarm is actually a good stratagem. Yep, I said it. Give me a chance to explain before coming at me with the torches and pitchforks though!
Endless Swarm is a Codex: Tyranids stratagem that costs 2 CPs. It allows you to pick a unit of Termagants, Gargoyles, or Hormagaunts (or ANY Hydra infantry unit) that has been completely destroyed and add an identical unit to your army. This unit is set up as reinforcements wholly within 6” of any board edge and more than 9” from enemy models.
Bringing a unit back from the dead should be a pretty handy ability, right? Before we get into our opinion, let’s look at some other popular opinions of this stratagem. And let me preface this by saying that I have a lot of respect for each and every one of the websites and teams I am about to mention (please don’t hate me, guys), I just also happen to share a largely differing opinion on this one thing. (But hey, if you haven’t noticed yet, the Hostile Galaxy is full of different opinions, especially when it comes to Tyranids! #Sorrynotsorry.)
Popular Opinion: This Stratagem Sucks Eggs
Goonhammer – The incredible team at Goonhammer (seriously, their articles are amazing and you should check them out HERE if you haven’t seen their work already) says in this article that the stratagem is bad because it requires CP for something you could add to your army for free and that you should just buy another unit. It gives this stratagem a rating of “F-“ which is pretty brutal.
1d4 Chan – I recommend this website because it’s super comprehensive. Love the content here and agree with about 99.99 % of it! That being said, the writers on 1D4chan.org state here that the Endless Swarm stratagem is pointless in matched play because it costs reinforcement points.
3++ – This website is another one of my favorites. I’ve gone here regularly for years. In this article, they state that this stratagem is useless because it requires reinforcement points and you would be better off bringing a second unit to begin with.
Just Play Games – This is a UK website that I am not overly familiar with but they seem to have good content. This Tyranid Review of theirs says that the units it applies to are too restrictive unless you are using Hive Fleet Hydra and that the stratagem is for narrative play.
Frontline Gaming – Everyone knows these guys. Great reviews and huge part of the community. You can see their Tyranid review here. They actually say that the stratagem is “quite good in matched play if you build for it” and they give an example of using a melee-oriented unit of Hydra Tyranid Warriors “ultra-aggressively) and then bringing them back from an unexpected angle after they die.
The community seems to agree with the idea that Endless Swarm is bad for the following reasons:
- It costs reinforcement points.
- Unless you are playing Hydra, it’s too restrictive on which units can come back.
- You should just save the CP and bring a second unit instead.
These are all valid points and I can absolutely see why, especially in comparison with some other stratagems from other armies, it looks bad. I think it really got a bad rep after the FAQ dashed people’s hopes by affirming that the models cost reinforcement points and players have had a bad taste in their mouth ever since.
Why Endless Swarm is Actually Good
While I can see all those points, I disagree that the stratagem is bad. Perhaps in comparison to a similar stratagem for another faction, it may be objectively bad but this is the stratagem we have access to and we shouldn’t compare apples to oranges especially when our codex doesn’t carry oranges. (If you want to compare apples to apples, you can compare Endless Swarm to Jormungandr’s stratagem The Enemy Below which is another way to keep a unit in reserve that normally could not start in reserve and bring it in from an unexpected angle. For reference, the folks at Goonhammer gave that stratagem a B.) Instead of looking at what Endless Swarm does NOT give us (free models) let’s look at what it does give us.
Reserves Shenanigans – You get the opportunity to keep a unit in reserve that normally would not be held in reserve without an additional expense. Sure you could bring a Trygon or Tyrannocyte but if you wanted a unit to come in from any board edge (that’s a lot of coverage!) then you could do it for the cost of CP instead of paying points to bring an additional unit.
Surprise Attack! – Some armies (especially some Space Marine armies) have so much anti-infantry firepower that even taking a second brood would not get them into effective range by simply charging across the battlefield. Maybe they screened out a frontal assault. Whatever they did, they did it right and your gaunts don’t stand a chance of getting where they want to be, right? Well, if you keep some in reserve using Endless Swarm, you can allow your unit to hit those screens and eventually get wiped out and then you can bring them in from another angle along a board edge to hit your opponent another way! The time it takes the unit to die is the time you have to whittle down units that may block the area you want to come in at with your firepower or fast assault units. A brood of Behemoth Hormagaunts using the Blood of Baal (BoB) stratagem Feral Instincts and the BoB Behemoth psychic power Unstoppable Hunger is a scary unit popping up from the backline, especially if they thought that unit was already dead and dealt with! If using an assault unit, don’t forget to use the BoB stratagems Hive Instinct and Hunter’s Drive to increase your odds of getting your unit into combat!
Note: The section below looks like it is negated by specific wording in the April 2019 update where it says rule 8 under Tactical Reserves does not apply to new units created by stratagems such as Endless Swarm. Unfortunate but not a big loss unless you were using this with Hive Fleet Hydra.
Extra Adaptive Physiologies! – The phrasing “identical unit” is of particular interest here. Consider this, you only get a max of TWO Adaptive Physiologies to start with. Let’s say you’re running Hive Fleet Jormungandr and you gave two broods of gaunts Dynamic Camouflage. Even if you bought two more broods for your army, they could not then also have Dynamic Camouflage. If you recycle them with Endless Swarm, however, you get those units with Dynamic Camouflage back as often as you’re willing to pay the CP for it. Maybe you have some Behemoth Termagants with Adrenal Glands and the Adrenal Webs Adaptive Physiology. You can screen with those units and let them die a horrible death only to resurrect them in your opponent’s backfield with a re-rollable 8” charge (and possibly better with new strats!) and when they make their charge they can consolidate into the enemy lines 2d6” and tie up even more stuff! This gets much better if using Hive Fleet Hydra. If you had a brood of Hive Guard with Enhanced Resistance and they were shot, smitten, or assaulted off the board, you can now bring that unit back (or if you saved points for gaunts but unexpectedly lost the Hive Guard you can bring at least some of them back) and place them in a good firing position. Which leads us to…
A Reserve to Counter Reserves – By the end of turn 3, you probably don’t have a ton of gaunts left, especially if they were a front line unit. At this point in the game, reserves are depleted. Whatever your opponent had to surprise you with is now on the table. Maybe it’s a unit of Inceptors that dropped into your flank. Maybe it’s a Smash Captain that snuck up on your backline and took out your Exocrine and now can go after your warlord. Whatever it is, it probably wouldn’t hurt to bring back a unit of Devilgaunts or Hormagaunts to deal with them and prevent them from doing the job they signed up for. That shiny Stormshield won’t be much use against a horde!
Sideboard – The general consensus has been to take a second unit. But what if you don’t know which unit would be more useful? Maybe you have Hormagaunts, Devilgaunts, and regular Termagants in your list and you don’t know which one you will need a second unit of. Endless Swarm allows you to pick whichever unit is most helpful (because your opponent probably killed it as quick as they could) and then bring it back! It’s like keeping a sideboard and adding in the most useful unit DURING THE GAME!
Endless Swarm has multiple uses and Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal has made it even better. This stratagem is woefully underused and can have many applications throughout the game. Will it be perfect in every situation? No, of course not. Not much in our codex is. But it does give you a strong reserve option that can be applied in numerous ways. We hope we have convinced you to take a second look at Endless Swarm and consider if it could be beneficial to your particular playstyle!
As always, thanks for reading! Please like and share our article on social media and help us connect to all the Hive Fleets out there! We would love to hear what you think in the comments below!